Last of 2 parts
ON Monday, I incontrovertibly proved as totally false the report by the Philippine Star, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as well as United States news outlets that the “International Criminal Court (ICC) saw reasonable basis” that President Duterte’s war on drugs had resulted in “crimes against humanity.”
It wasn’t the ICC which said that. It was merely its prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who even reported that she hadn’t completed the preliminary examination of the charges against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration — which is the very first step in that court’s processes.
That report by those incompetent or biased anti-Duterte news outlets is just like reporting that the Manila Trial Court found somebody guilty of murder when it was simply the fiscal who received the complaint but hadn’t even finished his examination who said so.
This episode is indubitably a case of these outfits brainlessness or anti-Duterte bias, since other major Philippine newspapers (this paper and the Manila Bulletin, among others) didn’t publish such rubbish. The reputable British wire service Reuters for instance correctly reported that claim as having been made not by the ICC, but by its prosecutor.
This episode bolsters several theses I have been writing about in my columns.
First, there is deep bias or a conspiracy in many local and US news outfits that deliberately distort events and facts to demonize Duterte, and paint our country black.
Shouldn’t the President of the Republic be given the benefit of a doubt when a foreign official accuses him of “crimes against humanity”?
Or, is this due to the fact that our media have been staffed mostly by ex-communists (or even part-time communists) who, even if they have decided to live a petty-bourgeois life, continue to pursue the “Revolution” in their own way? For instance, the former executive editor of a major Yellow newspaper which has also been romanticizing the New People’s Army (NPA) disclosed in an interview by the Philippine Journalism Oral Project that he was a communist cadre who spent four years underground in Bicol and organizing workers in Manila.
Believe me on this as I was one of those communists who, after a period of detention by the Marcos regime, went into media thinking this would be one way of exposing the ills of the country. In Business Day, where I first worked as media man, reporters were former heads of two Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) regional committees (Manila-Rizal and Cordillera), a former University of the Philippines (UP) cadre, the wife of one Jose Maria Sison’s close comrades in the politburo, the sister of one of the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas leaders, and that Bicol guy who went on to head that broadsheet.
The top journalism schools in the country, according to the Commission on Higher Education, are those of UP, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST). I don’t know about UST, but those UP and PUP colleges have been run for decades by leftists.
Second, there is a well-financed Yellow conspiracy to use the ICC — and other foreign institutions such as US mainstream media — to demonize Duterte. I don’t think Antonio Trillanes 4th had ever heard of the ICC before he filed his case in 2018. It is impossible for him to have spent his own money to go to The Hague to file the case, impossible to know how to file it, impossible for him to know how to submit the legal brief for such a case.
It is very likely that former President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s officials and allies who got to know the intricacies of filing a case in an international body when they filed the arbitration suit against China in 2013 — held at The Hague, where the ICC is — coached Trillanes on how to file the case at the ICC.
Who were the only other Filipinos who tried to file cases at the ICC? Former Foreign secretary Albert del Rosario with former Supreme Court justices Conchita Carpio-Morales and Antonio Carpio. They filed a case against Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials last March 2019 also for crimes against humanity in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
And third, the CPP has been pushing for this ICC case.
The communists since the martial law era have always put on top of their propaganda line not the nation’s poverty nor the reasons for its underdevelopment but their claim of widespread human rights abuses by the State, in order to gain sympathy for their conspiracy. They have succeeded in this propaganda tack — helped by powerful Yellow media outfits ABS-CBN Corp. and the Philippine Daily Inquirer — through the trick of claiming that all NPA casualties and all captured party cadres were merely anti-Marcos or “peasant organizers.”
Smelling that Antonio Trillanes’ and the Yellows’ tack of filing essentially a human-rights abuses case at the ICC was what they had done successfully before against Marcos, the communists jumped on the issue, using their international networks to provide the prosecutor with “testimonies” by victims in the war against drugs.
This was disclosed in a tweets by Trillanes who was annoyed by the credit-grabbing claims of Bayan party-list representative Teodoro Casiño that his (communist-led) organizations provided evidence to the ICC prosecutor. (Trillanes claimed they helped the case only after Duterte ended peace talks with the CPP-NPA.)
This ICC fake news gave me the opportunity to research on the ICC, and believe you me — as space doesn’t allow me to discuss it — the case against Duterte and his officials for “crimes against humanity” filed in this body is, as Filipinos would put it, “napakalaking suntok sa buwan.” Maybe even worse: a really farcical suit. I strongly suspect the Yellows had managed to get to Bensouda, who is from Gambia (a poor country of 2 million in western Africa). But then Bensouda will step down in June next year.
An article in the ICCs website pointed out: “In more than 17 years of existence — and despite the expenditure of well over $1 billion — the Washington Post reported last year that the ICC has secured just ‘two convictions and one guilty plea.’”
Several cases filed as long ago as 2005 are still in the pre-trial stage, so that in several cases, the charges were dropped as the accused had died for natural reasons or old age. The ICC’s judicial standards have been criticized by many international legal scholars, among other things because it admits hearsay and media reports as ‘evidence,’ and doesn’t require a rebuttal from the person or groups being accused.
For instance, Bensouda astonishingly claims that she found “reasonable basis” to “believe” that “crimes against humanity” were committed by the Duterte administration. Note her careful use of the terms “basis” and “believe.” She cannot claim, as even local fiscals would, that she has found “evidence” or that she has “concluded.”
In her report, she describes her findings as being from “open sources.” which of course, without the lingo derived from the intelligence community, means traditional and social media, as well as websites. It is indeed crazy for this ICC prosecutor to rely on media reports for her assessment on this administration.
The ICC has also been accused of racism, as most of those who were tried were black Africans. It is because of this criticism that Bensouda, who is from Gambia, was appointed as the ICC’s second prosecutor, its first being an Argentinian. Bensouda, I suspect, jumped on the Duterte accusations, merely to prove that the ICC isn’t targeting Africans, but even Asians.
I don’t think the Yellows behind this case themselves believe that Duterte will ever be convicted of the crimes they allege.
Their template is the Aquino regime’s suit against China in an international panel. The arbitration panel’s ruling was totally useless not only because it had no enforcement mechanism; it did not have a dispositive declaration. And while the award is not recognized by most of the world’s countries, it served to demonize China for ignoring the “international rule of law”.
Similarly, this ICC case against Duterte is nothing but a propaganda scheme, disseminated in newspapers like the Philippine Star, the Inquirer and US news outfits, which allow themselves to disseminate such fake news.
But the power of mainstream media has drastically weakened in the past two years: It is social media that has become the democratic force for truth that has been exposing the Yellow lies.